Originally for the Lughnassadh, 2006 mailing of the Esoteric Order of Dagon (#134)
|Cthulhu Tales is a 48-page comic, put
out by newcomer publisher BOOM! Studios. The issue is listed as #1, but so far, BOOM! has
given no indication as to whether this will be a series or not.
Cthulhu Tales is an anthology title; six stories by different writers and illustrators. "The Beach" by Michael Alan Nelson, with Andrew Ritchie illustrating, kicks off the book. This is unfortunate, because a strong story really should kick off an anthology. "The Beach" has no real arcit's more flash fiction, a single scene, which takes some eight pages to tell. Where with some stories, graphic intensity works because the artist has something interesting to show the audience, this is really not the case here. In fact, Andrew Ritchie seems to have taken his inspiration for Cthulhu from the hydrocephalic and spindly-limbed plastic model once offered by Grenadier models. This is not a promising start, and many of the stories follow the pattern of being uninspired. Both "Love's Craft" and "Witch Hunter" offer us short and essentially inoffensive fare; the stories neither really stink, but neither are they particularly interesting. However, by the time the first half of the book has gone by, and we haven't yet run into a good story.
"Quality Time" may be the best story of the lot, a nice little piece of social commentary about absentee fathers with a Mythos (in this case, Robert Chambers) payoff. This is followed by the rather uninteresting and very chaotically illustrated "Cthulhu Calls", by Casey Grey and Mark Badger. The last story is actually a poem, a minor, dare I say Gahan Wilson-esque piece of verse about one Phineas Flynn, who has eyes only for Lorelei Lee. While not strictly Lovecraftian, especially as it involves a romance, it is quite an interesting story.
Ultimately, Cthulhu Tales has a few moments of strength; "Quality Time" and "The Oddly Amorous Phineas Flynn and the Troublesome Trouble He Got Himself In" are good stories, quite worth reading. However, the other four stories, while not precisely dead weight, really don't hit the heights of something I'm going to bother to read twice.